Google Hates & Penalize Slow Websites

More than 40% of people abandon a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load.

Google is in a hurry and knows you are too. It wants to show the web sites in the search results that give the best user experience.

If your web pages load slower than others it will not rank as well as one that is fast. Make sure your web site is optimized for speed with compressed images, streamlined code and a fast web server to ensure that your visitors are not frustrated by a slow web site.

They probably never going back or recommend it to anyone.

Google even lower your rankings if the website is slow and non-responsive for a while. I realized how important website’s speed is more than 3 years ago.

One of my websites lost search engine visibility (rankings) because it was too slow several days in a row. It was deadly slow, 10-15+ seconds on average page load. The traffic decreased with more than 50%

Google Analytics

My reaction was lightning fast.

  1. I fixed all code problems.
  2. Optimized all image files for web.
  3. Installed a content delivery network (CDN).

Loading times decreased to healthy 2,5 seconds but my rankings and traffic didn’t improve immediately.

Once Google slaps you for slow loading performance it usually takes at least a month to recover. Even if you fix every issue right away.

Google takes website’s speed seriously. They actually announced it as a ranking signal 4 years ago on Webmaster Central Blog. If you are too busy to read it, there are just two sentences which are enough.

You may have heard that here at Google we’re obsessed with speed, in our products and on the web. As part of that effort, today we’re including a new signal in our search ranking algorithms: site speed. Site speed reflects how quickly a website responds to web requests.

They even filed a patent request.

Do you still think website’s speed is Not a Big Deal?

83% of users expect sites to load in 3 seconds or less but the median load time of the top 500 eCommerce home pages is 10 seconds.

(I spot an opportunity here)

A 1 second delay in page response can result in a 7% reduction in conversions.

Behavior of dissatisfied online shoppers

  • 44% are more likely to develop a negative perception of the company
  • 79% are less likely to buy from the site again
  • 46% would actively tell their friends and family about the experience.

Slow page speed negatively affects:

  • User’s experience
  • Page views
  • SEO
  • Conversions

Why Faster Websites Make More Money

Slow site are even slower on mobile

I’ve been around different countries and mobile data is shamefully slow quite often. Even in UK and United States.

The number of mobile-broadband subscriptions reaches 2.3 billion, with 55% of them in developing countries. More than 50% of mobile users take their device in the bathroom.

Where to Start

Optimize your images
The fastest way to reduce your image size:

Tinypng.com – Web-based tool, which uses smart lossy compression techniques to reduce the size of your PNG file. They have a nice wordpress plugin to do the job automatically.

Compressor.io – Compress and optimize your images Up to 90% file size reduction. Supports 4 file formats – JPEG – PNG – GIF – SVG.

WP Smush.it – Reduce image file sizes and improve performance using the Smush.it API within WordPress.

Photoshop save for web tool – A detailed video guide how to optimize your images with Photoshop from Adobe.

What else affects your website’s speed:

  • Avoid a character set in the meta tag
  • Avoid bad requests
  • Avoid CSS @import
  • Avoid landing page redirects
  • Combine images using CSS sprites
  • Defer parsing of JavaScript
  • Enable gzip compression
  • Enable Keep-Alive
  • Inline small CSS
  • Inline small JavaScript
  • Leverage browser caching
  • Minify CSS
  • Minify HTML
  • Minify JavaScript
  • Minimize redirects
  • Minimize request size
  • Optimize images
  • Optimize the order of styles and scripts
  • Prefer asynchronous resources
  • Put CSS in the document head
  • Remove query strings from static resources
  • Serve resources from a consistent URL
  • Serve scaled images
  • Specify a cache validator
  • Specify a character set early
  • Specify a Vary: Accept-Encoding header
  • Specify image dimensions

Too much to process for non-technical person right? No worries. There are two great tools will do the job for free.

Gtmetrix – uses Google Page Speed and Yahoo! to grade your site’s performance and provides actionable recommendations to fix these issues.

GTmetrix  Website Speed and Performance Optimization

Gtmetrix allows you to compare the performance of up to 4 URLs.

Pingdom Website Speed Test – Speed Test, DNS Health Ping and Traceroute (measure server response time). They offer real user monitoring services which I highly recommend. They show your website’s loading times distribution in different locations.

Pingdom Speed Test

According to Google recommendations your server response time must be below 200ms. Learn more at PageSpeed Insights.

What next?

If you run on WordPress you can implement all recommendations with just a few free plugins.

W3 Total Cache – Dramatically improves the speed and user experience of your site. Add browser, page, object and database caching.

WordPress SEO Plugin by Yoast – Moderate post titles and descriptions, robots meta configuration, canonical URLs, breadcrumbs, permalink clean up, XML sitemaps, RSS enhancements and more functions. The plugin has a nice and complete tutorial.

Bad Behavior – Deny automated spambots access to your PHP-based Web site. These bots eats your hosting resources, browsing your website and slow it down.

Extremely aggressive bots could even bring down your website if your hosting is not good enough to handle all the requests.

BJ Lazy Load or Advanced lazy loadFor an image-heavy websites. Every image is another HTTP request. Lazy loading can significantly speed up your site.

Hosting Matters

You need reliable hosting because website’s up-time is crucial.

There are 3 popular options:

Shared hosting – My choice is Resellerclub hosting. I use them since 2010. When it comes to shared web hosting they are the most reliable company. It is better to have dedicated IP just for your account.

WordPress Hosting – WPengine is the best option for you website if you run on wordpress. They have amazing 60 days trail. If you are not happy with the service they will return your money.

Even content marketing celebrity Neil Patel use WPengine for his blog Quicksprout.com. Visit them and check all awesome features they offer. They use Linode data center.

VPS/Cloud – For other websites I can sincerely recommend Linode cloud Hosting. They never disappointed me for the last 4 years.

speed up website loading time

Serious online businesses use – CDN (Content delivery network)

How CDN works? A basic explanation – CDN provider stores your website’s files on multiple servers across different geographic locations.

For example you host your website in United States. A visitor from United Kingdom visits your website. Your CDN provider has server in Germany.

It will load your website’s files from the German server for that visitor not from U.S. This will improve significantly your website’s loading times.

Conclusion

We are overwhelmed with information. Millions of blog post are published each day. Social networks like Facebook has 1,500-15,000 stories that could appear in person’s news feed each time they login.

People don’t have spare time. Get their attention as fast as possible.

Improve your website’s speed today.

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